Sunday's New York Time's Editorial Board asserted that Israel’s emerging coalition of far-right and religious parties poses 'a significant threat to the future of Israel — its direction, its security and even the idea of a Jewish homeland'
Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the New York Times over the weekend, accusing the prominent American newspaper of “shamefully” seeking to undermine his incoming administration after it published an editorial accusing him of “putting the ideal of a democratic Jewish state in jeopardy.”
“After burying the Holocaust for years on its back pages and demonizing Israel for decades on its front pages, the New York Times now shamefully calls for undermining Israel’s elected incoming government,” Netanyahu railed in a series of tweets on Sunday evening.
“While the NYT continues to delegitimize the one true democracy in the Middle East and America’s best ally in the region, I will continue to ignore its ill-founded advice and instead focus on building a stronger and more prosperous country, strengthening ties with America, expanding peace with our neighbors, and securing the future of the one and only Jewish state,” he wrote.
In its editorial on Saturday, the Times’s Editorial Board asserted that Israel’s emerging coalition of far-right and religious parties poses “a significant threat to the future of Israel — its direction, its security and even the idea of a Jewish homeland” and that “the government’s posture could make it militarily and politically impossible for a two-state solution to ever emerge.”
Accusing Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, of “doing everything he can to stay in power” and “catering to the demands of the most extreme elements of Israeli politics,” the Times warned that efforts to pass a proposed Override Clause could undermine the authority of the High Court, “thus freeing the Knesset, the Israeli legislature, to do whatever it wants, with little judicial restraint.”
The Times also cautioned against the inclusion of Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben-Gvir in the government, noting that the man set to become National Security Minister had previously been convicted for “incitement to racism and supporting a Jewish terrorist organization.”
Calling on Washington to be more outspoken in its concern regarding the direction in which Israel is headed, the Times stated that “the Biden administration should do everything it can to express its support for a society governed by equal rights and the rule of law in Israel, as it does in countries all over the world.”
The Times’ rhetoric echoes that of Netanyahu’s political opposition, including outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid who recently warned that Netanyahu and his allies are “dragging the country into a dangerous, anti-democratic spiral” and undermining the rule of law “for personal reasons.”
Speaking at the Israel Democracy Institute’s annual conference in Jerusalem last month, Lapid took aim at judicial reforms proposed by Netanyahu and his allies – including enabling the Knesset to override supreme court decisions striking down unconstitutional legislation and changes to the selection process for judges.
Netanyahu, he said, “wants to decide which judges will hear his appeal.”
While Netanyahu expressed anger at the Times’ criticism, he has used similar rhetoric against his domestic opponents in the past.
Last December, then-Foreign Minister Lapid denounced Netanyahu for waging what he described as a campaign against the state of Israel and against Israeli democracy,” after the Likud leader posted several English language videos on social media criticizing the coalition’s various legislation proposals.
In his online messages, Netanyahu stated, in English, that several new bills then making their way through the Knesset would “wipe out the most basic freedoms in a democracy in order to enshrine a certain party or a certain group in power.”
And in a series of English-language tweets posted to its official account this June, Netanyahu’s Likud party accused that Bennett and Lapid of “turning Israel into a dark dictatorship with personal laws aimed at Netanyahu akin to the dictates of North Korea or Iran.”
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